Comparison of Hebrew Fonts on Kindle Paperwhite

I’ve decided to compare the looks of four, freely available Hebrew fonts, on the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite.

The fonts are:
1. Frank Ruehl (Culmus).
2. David (Culmus).
3. Alef (HaGilda).
4. Times New Roman (Microsoft, taken from Corefonts).

All the fonts are in Kindle’s size 5, except Alef which seems a bit bigger than the Culmus fonts so I’ve used it in size 4. The actual size is a bit smaller than the one commonly found in Hebrew paperback books. Alef lacks (in the free version) Italic and Bold-Italic variants, but Kindle’s faux-variants seems to be readable.

Adding fonts can be done without jailbreak using the USE_ALT_FONTS trick. Just remember to unplug the kindle before restarting, else it won’t work. The screenshots were taken by pressing two opposing corners of the screen simultaneously. The test eBook is בדיקת_עברית.azw3.

Update – December 2014:

The USE_ALT_FONTS hack doesn’t work with Kindle Paperwhite 5.4. However, it doesn’t work in the sense that it won’t allow you to use the “Aa” menu to change the font to a custom one. However, it does change the default Hebrew font! So, if you want to change the default Hebrew font, put only the files of a single font in the fonts folder and add the USE_ALT_FONTS file to the root of the file system. You need to restart the kindle for the change to take effect (you might also need to flip a page in the book, as it seems that Kindle caches the rendering).

16 thoughts on “Comparison of Hebrew Fonts on Kindle Paperwhite”

  1. hey so i am considering buying the kindle paperwhite and stumbled upon this post. i just wanted to confirm that indeed it’s possible to have book in hebrew on the kindle? thanks a lot!

  2. Hi Arie, providing a zip file with the actual ttf files, would breach the copyright of some of the fonts. However, these fonts are easily downloaded from the links I gave in the list.

  3. Hi Guy, would you be able to explain how and from where you are downloading Hebrew books to your Kindle?

  4. I’ve followed the instructions to put the fonts on my Kindle Paperwhite, and I do have Hebrew fonts, but I can not choose different ones. I do not see the different uploaded fonts (just the basic one that came with the device + PUBLISHER FONT), and whatever I pick they all look the same (similar to the ALEF)?

    Any idea what I’m doing wrong?

  5. Hi Yoram, the default Kindle font for Hebrew looks quite unlike Alef and especially ugly. In the new firmware for Kindle Paperwhite, you can only override the default font and cannot load multiple fonts and select from them (see the update in the post).

  6. Awesome!
    I HATED the default hebrew font on my kindle paperwhite 7g.
    I chose the Gisha font from my computer, copied it to the device and the USE_ALT_FONTS hack file and I’m loving the improvement.

    Thanks for posting!

  7. Hi Guy,
    I live in the US, but a friend in Israel has just asked me whether Kindles can be configured to read books in Hebrew. She wants me to purchase one for her son-in-law if this feature is available.

    Tutorial please!! Is this feature available on a Kindle I can buy in the US or is getting books in Hebrew on a Kindle dependent on my knowing how to finegle it into operating that way? Can a non-techy person make this possible?

    Thanks for your answer

  8. With newer Kindle Paperwhite firmware (5.12.4 in my case) adding fonts does not require the USE_ALT_FONTS hack. It seems that Amazon officially supports adding user provided fonts out of the box. Simple steps:
    1. Attach your Kindle with its USB cable to your PC.
    2. Open the removable drive of Kindle and change to “fonts” subdirectory. A README text file with instructions is available in that location – TL;DR: Just copy the font’s TTF (or OTF) files to that “fonts” directory.
    No need to restart. Immediately after (safely) disconnecting the USB cable the added font families would appear in the font settings window that appears when selecting the “Aa” option in the top-menu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.